Huntsville Hospital announces third vaccine dose for immunocompromised

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Huntsville Hospital announced those with weakened immune systems are now eligible for a third shot of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines.

The recommendation for a third dose came from the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), which follows guidance from the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

While only around 3% of adults in the U.S. are considered moderately to severely immunocompromised, they make up to 40-44% of people hospitalized with COVID-19.

Vulnerable conditions include the following, according to Huntsville Hospital:

  • Active or recent treatment for cancer – solid tumor and blood malignancies
  • Receipt of solid organ or recent hematopoietic stem cell transplants
  • Severe primary immunodeficiency
  • Advanced or untreated HIV infection
  • Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids, alkylating agents, antimetabolites, tumor-necrosis blockers, and other biologic agents that may suppress immune response
  • Persons with chronic medical conditions such as asplenia and chronic renal disease which may be associated with varying degrees of immune deficiency

The hospital said anyone looking to get a third shot can ask their healthcare provider for a prescription for the additional dose. They can also visit a vaccination site and alert the staff that they fall in the eligible category.

Huntsville Hospital also advised that the third shot should be the same as the first two doses received, whether Pfizer or Moderna.

Not enough data is available to determine if an additional dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine improves the antibody response following the first dose.

The third shot is not considered a “booster dose”, but an additional dose for people whose initial response to the vaccine series was not sufficient.

Close contacts of immunocompromised and anyone over the age of 12 are also strongly encouraged to be vaccinated by the ADPH.

For complete details about a third vaccine shot, click here.

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